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Date: 24 August 2008

UNISON slams cuts in Edinburgh's childrens services

UNISON's Edinburgh Branch has slammed cuts in Edinburgh's childrens services due to be presented to the Council's Education Children and Families Committee on Tuesday 26 August.

"This will mean that the jobs of around 12 of the council's most experienced children and families and child protection staff will be cut, leaving key front-line workers unsupported and local senior staff inundated with management duties", warned Tom Connolly, Edinburgh UNISON Service Conditions Officer.

In a briefing for councillors at www.unison-edinburgh.org.uk/councillorcfbrief.doc, the union stresses that the cuts fly in the face recommendations from previous inquiries.

"The council is saying they are only cutting 'managers' but these are key front-line staff. The role of operational managers in Social Work are more akin to a nursing or medical practitioner model than a 'business management' model. They are hands-on front line practitioners who are involved in critical practice decisions on a daily basis. The need for that professional support is clearly outlined in the external audit the council commissioned in 2004", added Mr Connolly.

"The Caleb Ness report said that senior social workers should be involved in all risk decisions. How can they do that if they are overloaded with the work of the managers who have been deleted?"

The council plans to delete at least 10 'manager' posts. Five of these are front-line team managers who are directly involved in the most complex child protection work. The other posts are managers who manage operations in sectors of the city. They are all qualified social workers and directly involved in day to day children and families work.

"Many of these staff carry some of the most complex cases. It is astonsihing that the council is saying it wants to allocate all the cases that are on waiting lists, and to do this it is cutting staff. There is not one single alternative post being put in place with the 'savings'. This is a plain straightforward cut", added Mr Connolly.





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